Foresight opens office in Rome

The private equity firm specialising in environmental infrastructure investments has opened a new office in Italy to continue raising its European Solar fund. It is targeting €50m and has already raised €40m.

Foresight Group has opened a Rome office that will focus on raising the rest of its €50 million European Solar Fund, which has already collected €40 million.

The European Solar Fund, which will invest in solar power opportunities in Italy and Greece, is due to close early next year. The firm has secured “framework agreements” with five Italian construction companies in the solar photovoltaic sector for investments from the fund, Foresight said in a statement.

Foresight also intends to raise an additional solar fund of €100 million in 2009, in conjunction with an unnamed Middle Eastern bank, according to managing partner, Bernard Fairman.

Fairman said “investors like the combination of infrastructure and cleantech”. He said fundraising has been a lot more difficult in the last eight weeks but is pleased with the results of the European Solar Fund.

Investment in Italy and Greece will serve as examples to show that similar opportunities exist on a worldwide basis, according to Fairman, who believes that America is the “logical next stage”.

Foresight currently manages assets of more than €250 million, including the £22.5 million Foresight UK Sustainable Investment Fund that targets environmental infrastructure.

Recent investments include Closed Loop Recycling, a UK plastic recycling company, O-Gen UK, which generates renewable energy, and Land Energy, a producer of wood pellets for sustainable heating.